Find your inner light and let it shine.

Illustration: I Love Dust

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It's human nature to think negatively. Studies show that negative thoughts and emotions are quicker to form, attract more of our focus, and are more likely to be recalled than positive ones. Confident people aren't immune to pessimistic self-talk, but they also recognize and value their strengths—and you should, too. If you have trouble pinpointing your positive attributes, start by thinking about one trait that has served you well in life. (Perhaps your perseverance helped you land your job.) Then get your loved ones involved. Try this approach:

1. Open with telling them what you like most about yourself.
Your perspective will provide a jumping-off point for your loved ones—and help them brainstorm their favorite things about you.

2. Prepare to be surprised.
You might think your calm demeanor is your strongest attribute, but others may value your spontaneity.

3. Ask your loved ones for more details.
Encourage them to cite specific examples of your most appealing traits in action.

4. Once you identify your best qualities, share them.
The more you project your strengths, the more powerful they can become. By repeatedly putting yourself in a position where you feel you're at your best, you build trust in your abilities and assets.